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China to Meet UN Poverty Reduction Targets

A United Nations (UN) official has said China and India are on track to meet UN poverty reduction targets, but other nations in the region are lagging behind.

With an annual economic growth of more than 6 percent, China, India, Malaysia and Thailand seem poised to hit most of UN "millennium development goals" set for the year 2015, particularly regarding poverty levels, the Philippine Star daily on-line news Friday quoted Kim Hak-Su, executive secretary for UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, as saying.

Among the characteristics of the countries expected to hit the goals were "good long-term planning and vision," as well as "good incentive measures for foreign investment," Kim said, adding that these countries also had many "pro-poor policies in the social area," aimed at helping the disadvantaged.

But despite the unprecedented economic growth in Asia since 1990, some countries in the region were being left behind, Kim added.

Kim said Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan and most Pacific island nations were unlikely to hit even one of the UN eight development goals by the 2015 deadline.

Other countries like the Philippines "will meet some goals but not others," said Kim, citing the high educational levels but also the high levels of poverty in the Philippines.

However, not all of the poorest countries were being left behind, Kim stated, adding that "Mongolia is poor but they are coming up very well."

Kim also warned that attaining higher development might lead to new problems, including greater environmental problems due to more industrial activity and fuel being burned, and as an economy grows, attention might shift the levels of inequality within a country.

The "millennium development goals" include cutting the number of people living in extreme poverty by half, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality sharply, improving maternal health and curbing AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), malaria and other major diseases.

Among other goals are ensuring environmental sustainability and helping forge partnerships for development.

UN members committed themselves in 2000 to hitting eight development goals by 2015 in a bid to lower poverty worldwide.

(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2004)

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